Is Temur Adventures The Real Deal?

Temur Adventures won DreamHack Anaheim, but will it last in Standard? Brad Nelson has his answer…and the winner’s sideboarding guide!

Lucky Clover, illustrated by John Stanko

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This past weekend was the first of three DreamHack Arena Opens. I really wanted to go to the event, but wasn’t able to get there for the first day of the competition. Instead I watched it from home, and have to say I was impressed with the whole experience. What really blew my hair back was the personal profile pieces with some of the competitors. 

The next part of this story is a sad one, though. Believe it or not, last week I was starting to identify that Temur Adventures might just be the real deal. I played against the deck twice, and was very impressed by what it was doing. Picking it up myself, I went 12-1 during my first session with the deck and felt like I had the perfect deck for this weekend’s Mythic Point Challenge. 

Then this guy had to go and ruin it all!

I mean sure, it’s cool that someone so passionate about this deck won the whole tournament with it. I guess it’s also sweet that he’s ranked #1 on the Arena ladder and beat the #2 ranked player in the finals. This all makes for some great entertainment, but what about me? What about my super-cool deck choice for an unsuspecting metagame, huh? When will I catch my break?

I guess not all is lost. This deck is the new Theros Beyond Death Standard hotness and I’ve already started working on mastering it. I still have a long way to go in that department, but it does seem like fate for me to write this article. So, is Temur Adventures the real deal?

Many of you out there may have asked yourselves, “Why is this deck good all of a sudden?” It’s a perfectly reasonable question, as this deck gained very little from Theros Beyond Death, and yet was never really a role player in the previous Standard formats metagame. What made this deck so good now when it was around for months now?

I think the short answer to this is that it always was…after the bannings of Oko, Thief of Crowns and Field of the Dead, at least. The deck debuted two days before Mythic Championship VII decklists were due, which was too short of a window for anyone to actually select it. After that, it probably saw play here and there but there weren’t any major events to draw attention to the strategy. Temur Adventures was most likely just as good then as it is now, but the format just wasn’t on the forefront of most player’s minds anymore. 

Fast forward to this past weekend where Aaron Gertler, maybe the biggest proponent of Temur Adventures, absolutely crushed the DreamHack Arena Open with the deck. In the tournament, very few of the deck’s bad matchups showed up thanks to being pushed out of the metagame, and a ton of the deck’s best matchups did well. That’s a formula for success, sure, but is it one that we’re going to see replicated in the near future? 

We should spend some time talking about this deck, though. Temur Adventures is the ultimate value engine. Not only do the Adventure creatures effectively generate two cards worth of value, but both “halves” of the cards are also amplified by Edgewall Innkeeper and Lucky Clover. On top of all of that, this deck uses Escape to the Wilds for even more card advantage. 

Escape to the Wilds

The reason why Escape to the Wilds is so good in Temur Adventures is that every card is either extremely cheap or has a low alternate casting cost. This makes it super-easy to fire off an Escape to the Wilds as early as Turn 5 and still cast all five cards by the end of the following turn. Of course, you don’t always want to cast this five-mana sorcery that early in the game, but it’s nice that it’s still an option. 

Fae of Wishes

If that’s not enough value for you, there’s always Fae of Wishes! Wait, when did I become a salesperson for this deck? I guess I’m really starting to like it! Fae of Wishes is the backbone of the strategy, as it’s a way for the deck to interact with any opponent on any battlefield. Lucky Clover makes this all possible as you’re able to dig up combinations of cards that help reinforce your specific gameplans. One card may not always get you out of a pickle, but two will usually do the trick. 

Mass Manipulation

I really like Aaron’s exact 75, but I’ve been playing against Bant Ramp a lot on Arena. That’s one matchup where his sideboard doesn’t really have a card with high enough impact on some battlefields. You know, the games where they have Nissa, Who Shakes the World; Teferi, Time Raveler; Hydroid Krasis; Cavalier of Thorns; Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath; and some other stuff. In those games, if you’re still alive, you probably ramped a ton and now have access to sixteen-plus mana, the perfect conditions for a Mass Manipulation. I’m not sold that it’s necessary, but I wanted you to know about it. 

You’d think that a Wish sideboard would hurt the deck, but it’s actually perfect for it. After all, Temur Adventures is literally just every good card with “Adventure” on it. Sideboarding too much will weaken the core strategy and so it’s not even important to have a robust sideboard plan in every matchup. You do sideboard some cards here and there, but it’s never more than a few. 

Temur Adventures isn’t the easiest deck to interact with either. The deck has so many unique ways to gain value that trying to destroy its permanents is usually a fool’s errand. To add insult to injury, sometimes you’ll be ready with answers for cards like Lucky Clover, but then just get beaten down by Bonecrusher Giant and Lovestruck Beast. This deck might not be an aggressive strategy, but these cards can hit hard! 

The way to beat Temur Adventures isn’t in how you interact with it, it’s in how you pressure it. Strategies like Temur Reclamation do this well, as they can effectively ignore the value Temur Adventures is gaining simply by doing their thing but better. The same can be said for decks like Jund Sacrifice and Jeskai Fires. The way to beat this deck is to pressure them with proactive elements. If you don’t, they’ll just draw more cards than you and find the perfect answers in the late-game thanks to Granted. 

This is why I think Aaron absolutely crushed with Temur Adventures this past weekend – a highly skilled player who knew the archetype very well got to put on a clinic against even-to-great matchups. Not to take anything away from Aaron, but I just think he was in the right place at the right time, as there wasn’t much Temur Reclamation or Jund Sacrifice in Anaheim. Instead, just a sea of Azorius Control and Jeskai Fires for him to prey on. Don’t get me wrong, I think the deck’s great, but this didn’t hurt Aaron’s chances either. 

Moving forward, I bet Temur Adventures will still be great and likely what I’ll play this weekend in the Mythic Point Challenge, but there are options if you want to “level” the metagame. These are simply just my opinions, of course, but I would suggest working on Jund Sacrifice or Temur Reclamation if you want to try to prey on Temur Adventures. Do note that both of those decks have their own issues, but they are the tough matchups for Temur Adventures specifically.

I don’t think I’d do too many radical things to Aaron’s list. After all, his list was already respecting bad matchups like Temur Reclamation via the sideboard counterspells. You might be able to squeeze another Return to Nature into the sideboard, as it’s decent against both Temur Reclamation and Jund Sacrifice, but that’s about the only thing I’d consider changing.

Aaron’s Sideboard Guide

Luckily for me, Aaron was kind enough to bestow his wisdom unto me, and in turn I’m doing the same for you. Here are Aaron Gertler’s plans for all the major matchups so let’s thank him by going out there and giving him some follows! 

Oh, and did you know that he gave 50% of his $30,000 first-place prize to charity? GiveWell is an organization that searches for charities that save or improve lives the most per dollar. He’s passionate about the work they do, so the least we can do is look into such a wonderful organization. 

VS Mono-Red Aggro


Beanstalk Giant Beanstalk Giant Escape to the Wilds Escape to the Wilds Escape to the Wilds Incubation


Aether Gust Aether Gust Aether Gust Domri's Ambush Return to Nature Storm's Wrath

VS Azorius Control





As Aaron puts it, “Just click Submit.” Yeah, this matchup is great. You might think about sideboarding in some of the cards, but they’re better to have in the sideboard. Take Disdainful Stroke, for example. You want it for cards like Dream Trawler, but it’s better to Granted for than naturally draw. 

VS Temur Reclamation


Fae of Wishes Bonecrusher Giant Bonecrusher Giant Escape to the Wilds


Return to Nature Negate Aether Gust Aether Gust

VS Temur Adventures


Brazen Borrower Incubation


Aether Gust Aether Gust

VS Jund Sacrifice


Brazen Borrower Lovestruck Beast


Aether Gust Aether Gust

VS Jeskai Fires


Bonecrusher Giant Incubation


Return to Nature Disdainful Stroke

Aaron isn’t the most confident in these plans so he suggested you just use these as a starting point. I know I’m going to! Still, I’m pretty sure he’s selling himself short, as he has played this deck for three months straight now.

Thanks again to Aaron for this awesome Temur Adventures list. This deck is the real deal and I’ll be getting those ten wins in this weekend’s Mythic Point Challenge thanks to you!

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